Sunday, November 19, 2017

11 Ways Blacks And Latinos Can Close The Median Wealth Inequality

I read an alarming article about our country's racial wealth inequality yesterday at Blacks and Latinos Will Be Broke in a Few Decades.  If the current trend of wealth separation between blacks, Latinos, and whites continues, by 2053 "black median families" will have ZERO wealth!  Latino "median families" will be right there with them 20 years later.  Remember from your statistic lessons that the median signifies those right in the middle of a distribution or range.

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Currently, black median household wealth (total assets - total debt) is just $1,700.  Latinos are basically in the same boat, with $2000 in median household wealth.  Whites, in stark contrast, have a median household wealth today of $116,800.  These numbers are a national disappointment and the number one reason why the United States as a whole is in 21st place in the world in median household wealth at $55,876.  Unlike, or, I can on this platform ask some actual meaningful questions like:

Why should whites care that the two biggest minority groups in this country should be that far back in median wealth and wealth accumulation?  Here are a couple reasons:

1.  The U.S. will be a majority minority nation according to projections by 2043.  Not closing the wealth gap could be disastrous for Gross Domestic Product (G.D.P.) growth.  Meaning our economy would cease to grow, our national debt would never be paid (we're in danger of this happening now), and our children and grandchildren would have no future or country to speak of.

2.  To avoid civil unrest and violence on a national scale.  We see pockets of civil unrest today related to racial injustice.  I'd hate to have my children and future grandchildren grow up in a place where racial disharmony is worse than it is today.  And if you haven't noticed, the sequence of Obama-Trump pretty much destroyed every gain we'd made since the Civil Rights movement.

If you've ever visited my About Me and scrolled half-way down the page, you probably noticed my educational agenda: "...I also believe financial literacy has the power to transform the lives of members of ethnic minorities (especially Latinos and blacks) who are economically challenged."  My mission is to help everyone, but I obviously have a vested interest and obligation to help people of color with my brand of financial literacy.  Why?

I'm a Mexican-American who's married to an African-American and has two mixed children.  This country has given me more wealth than I could've ever created for myself in Mexico.  Lastly, I've learned how to create wealth.  My household wealth is somewhere around $375K and growing thanks to appreciating real estate (and paying down 4 mortgages) and paper assets mostly.  So I'm going to now embark on providing solutions to this massive wealth inequality problem that center on self-reliance.  Some will be financial in nature while others will be cultural.  If you're a minority and don't agree with what I have to say...oh well.  I really don't care.  Start your own blog and write your version of the truth.  Alrighty then, let's turn this mutha out!

11 Ways blacks and Latinos can close the Median Wealth Gap

1. Stop expecting whites to change how things are today.  You may protest if you like, and continue to fight the good fight by all means, but don't expect or wait for policy changes from whites to get you out of poverty.  Take action today for your own financial well-being regardless of the current political environment.

2.  Stop obsessing about racism.  I spent all of my high school (and some college) years (read my book!) obsessing about whites and their racism.  It was stupid and a complete waste of my time.  Had I just focused on minding my success I would've become money conscious sooner.  Does racism exist? Yes, both overt and systemic.  But will it do you any good to spend thousands of calories thinking, stressing, etc. about it over the course of your lifetime?  Money is green, not racist.  Money buys space, peace, and lawyers.  Just ask O.J.  

3.  Embrace capitalism.  We do our kids such a disservice by making them think the pursuit of money and riches is evil.  We live in the U.S., a capitalistic nation for crying out loud.  Believe me, I used to have Che Guevara posters hanging on my dorm room walls at UCSB.  No way in hell will I ever indoctrinate my kids to think wealth is greed and greed is bad.  I'll be doing the opposite and so should all black and Latino families if we're ever to get out of this deep hole we're in.  Money consciousness is a good thing people!

4.  God will not drop off a pile of money at your doorstep.  Too many blacks and Latinos are indoctrinated by the Christian and Catholic church to put their faith and trust in God.  "God will provide this, and God will provide that."  No God won't!  Blasphemy?  God helps those who help THEMSELVES!

5.  Cultural identity, both a blessing and a curse.  What does being black mean?  What does being Mexican or for that matter, Latino mean?  It means pride, heritage, and belonging.  Those are the positives.  But many times our cultural identities keep us from broadening our world views, our perspectives, from learning from each other or from whites even.

6.  We have to break the "we are victims" mindset once and for all.  Yes, the past happened.  Yes, the present isn't rosy, but I'll be damned if I ever let my daughter and son constantly express any minority victim mindset words.  We "push through" damn it!  See any victims in the video below?  Thank-you, Jasmyn Wright, M.Ed. for your excellent success mindset education.

7.  Stop overestimating public schools.  Mexican parents drop their kids off at school with all the trust in the world that the school will prepare their child for success in life.  The same can be said for many black families.  Great schools are the exception people!  Certainly not the norm.  This means you have to provide additional curriculum for your child at home.  The default end to the learning day for minority families is the answer to this question: "Did you finish your homework?"  So f'in what if your child finished his/her homework?  That doesn't mean they get the next two hours to be bullshitting on their smart phone or game system.  Don't you get it?  We're behind people.  Behind!  This means we need to have our kids double their learning.  Two additional hours after school (reading, on Ed apps, building things with their hands, etc.) after they've completed their homework, plus doing something educational during the winter and summer breaks should just about put us on par with whites.

8.  Stop living above your means.  Mexicans love their expensive trucks, and throwing their life savings into their daughter's Quinceanera, baptismal parties, etc....everything is cause for celebration in our community.  Blacks most definitely throw money away too in their own ways.  We need to develop a culture of saving!  It's bad enough we get paid less than our white counterparts in many instances.  We don't need to compound matters by living above our means.  How can you ever enter into the realm of investing, the key to wealth building, without having savings to invest?

9.  Learn to invest!  There is absolutely no excuse these days not to know how to invest in the most accessible wealth creation vehicle man has ever known: the stock and bond markets.  You know, there's this thing called the Internet, where you can go to a "search engine" thing-a-ma-bopper called, Google, and ask it questions.  Stop being lazy, people.  Stop being ignorant of these things.  Your conspiracy theories about the market being rigged, or it being for whites only, are no longer a good excuse!  Let me let you in on a secret: It was never a good excuse.  It was just your victim mindset in operation.  If I can invest in the market and have made a profit every year since 2007, so can you.

10.  Set goals and let one of them be to buy at least one real estate property in your lifetime.  Real estate is about having a stake, not necessarily about wealth.  When you own land and property, you are catapulted from indentured servant to landlord.  It's even better if you own a rental property.  Now you can take advantage of the current tax system and itemize, saving on your taxes.  Whites aren't wealthy simply because they make more money than other ethnic groups; they're wealthier because they save a shit load on taxes and they do so with purpose.

11.  Learn the principles of success.  Shameless plug here: Buy your Tweens and teens my book (see the left sidebar).  I explicitly share how minority youth can be successful in life.  13!, 5-star reviews so far.  At least take a look!  It won't kill you to browse the Amazon page and read some of the reviews.  Having a success mindset with strategic skills to get through challenges in life is key to building wealth.

Look, I realize that privilege exists.  Many whites start out in life yards ahead in the race of life.  One can't deny this (see video below).  But that doesn't mean we, blacks and Latinos, should give up.  That we sit back and don't even take part in the race.  We can narrow those yards of separation by doing the things I've mentioned above.  And then when the race gets underway, we'll be in a better position to win that $100.  Mad love and respect to the minority students who ran the race from way back and still competed, beating many people.  There were some as you can see who didn't even run.  So last words: Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, give up!   

Thanks for reading.

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